AMLI Residential
Back Arrow
Back to Blog Home
Around The Area
Good Eats

All You Need To Know About The Texoma AVA

Jun 19th, 2024

Did you know that a viticulturist in Texas once saved the French wine industry? 

He sure did! And he came from the region now known as the Texoma AVA just north of Dallas, Texas.
Here’s all you need to know about the Texoma AVA!

The Texoma American Viticultural Area in Texas

What is an AVA?

The United States boasts a diverse array of wine regions, each with distinct environmental characteristics that influence the grapes grown there. Because they represent very specific growing conditions and agricultural standards, these American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs, are carefully regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau (TTB).

For a region to qualify as an official AVA, the area must possess specific geographical features (like climate, soil composition or topography) that distinguish it from surrounding areas and can demonstrably affect the grapes grown there. These defined boundaries and characteristics are carefully documented in the TTB's regulations and are what sets the standards for the winemaking done within its borders. 

There are currently 273 AVAs spread across 34 states, with California leading the pack at a whopping 152! Popular AVAs that are household names include Napa Valley and Sonoma Coast in California, Willamette Valley in Oregon and Walla Walla Valley in Washington — places that are now synonymous with great quality wine! 

AVAs are more than just agriculturally-designated regions, though, offering a host of benefits to both winemakers and consumers.

For winemakers, AVAs provide a valuable tool for marketing their wines. By using an AVA designation on the label, a winery can communicate the unique qualities imparted by the specific growing conditions to the consumer. This allows them to potentially command premium prices and build a reputation for good quality wine, whether they’re a hundred-acre winery or a two-acre one!

For consumers, AVAs serve as a helpful reference guide. By recognizing AVAs on wine labels, they can gain a general idea of the wine's style, grape varietals and potential flavor profile; this knowledge empowers them to make informed choices based on their preferences, despite having never tasted the wine.

Overall, AVAs play a crucial role in the American wine industry. They empower wineries to showcase the unique qualities of their wines and provide consumers with valuable information to guide their purchasing decisions, no matter the size or popularity of the winery. AVAs are likely to become even more significant as regions grow into their viticultural identities and take advantage of new winemaking techniques, all the while supporting local farms, local production and local businesses. Win-win, right?

Where is wine grown in Texas?

While Texas has a rich history of winemaking that predates that of California (it’s true!), rough conditions and the effects of Prohibition have both severely limited the places where wine can be successfully grown. 

Despite that, the state’s wine industry is growing by the year, and today there are eight AVA’s within Texas’ borders! 

  • Texas Hill Country AVA: This warm, lush region sits west of Austin and San Antonio, boasting diverse growing conditions for a wide range of grapes.
  • Bell Mountain AVA: A petite AVA nestled entirely within the Texas Hill Country, Bell Mountain offers a drier, sunnier climate ideal for bold reds.
  • Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country AVA: Also within the Hill Country AVA, Fredericksburg focuses on German grape varieties, reflecting the town's cultural heritage.
  • Escondido Valley AVA: This tiny AVA near Fort Stockton showcases a hot, dry climate, perfect for specific red wine styles.
  • Mesilla Valley AVA: Primarily located in New Mexico, a sliver of the long Mesilla Valley AVA extends into Texas near El Paso. 
  • Texas Davis Mountains AVA: Higher in elevation than most other AVAs, this region offers a cooler, wetter climate compared to the Texas lowlands.
  • Texas High Plains AVA: Covering a vast swathe of the Texas Panhandle, this AVA is the powerhouse of the state’s wine industry, cultivating a whopping 85% of Texas' wine grapes!
  • Texoma AVA: This AVA straddles the Texas-Oklahoma border north of Dallas. Interestingly, it's the very region where viticulture pioneer Thomas Volney Munson developed his Phylloxera-resistant rootstock!

What is the Texoma AVA?

Like the name suggests, the Texoma AVA runs along the Oklahoma-Texas border just north of Dallas. It’s not one of the most prominent in the nation, by any means, but it has an amazing history that connects this slice of land to the global wine industry, thanks to a wine maker and some native grape varieties. 

Back in the late 19th century, the grapevine disease phylloxera started decimating vineyards in France and severely impacting wine production in Europe as a whole. A Texas viticulturist from what is now the Texoma AVA region found that the native grape varieties in Texas were resistant to the disease, so he grafted their rootstocks onto the French’s vitis vinifera grapevines and almost singlehandedly saved the French wine industry!

Today, the Texoma AVA is popular in its own right for the wines it produces, as well as for its role in saving French wine. The alluvial soils mirror those of many European wine-growing regions, and the bluffs and hills around the Red River and Lake Texoma channel breezes through the humid farms in the heat of the day, keeping temperatures cooler. All the streams and rivers allow for plenty of water and irrigation, and the naturally phylloxera-resistant soils and roots mean disease is less likely to occur. Cooler springs keep temperatures from rising too high in the evening which, as a result, keeps wine grapes from developing too much sugar. 

Wines grown in the Texoma AVA

Because of the unique conditions created by the soils, water, temperature and wind patterns, the Texoma AVA produces a variety of wines similar to those found in parts of Europe. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grow exceptionally well in this region, especially since the late-budding fruits tend to appear long after the risk of late spring frosts has passed. Merlot and Pinot Noir are also popular red varieties grown in the Texoma region, and winemakers have great success with Chardonnay, as well. 

Living near our luxury Dallas apartments means that you’re within reach of all of these locally-grown wine varieties sourced straight from the Texoma AVA. Grapevine is full of wineries and tasting rooms where you can try these Texas wines for yourself, and if you really want the full experience, take a day trip from Dallas to check out the Texoma AVA for yourself

Texas may not be up to California’s level in terms of sheer quantity, but when it comes to quality wines, there’s no argument that we’re right up there with the greats.


Pin it!

Featured photo by Kaja ReichardtKaja Reichardt on Unsplash

Author of Article

Colleen Ford is a South African who now lives on Oahu in Hawai'i. She loves to travel, camp, spearfish and hike. She's also part of a super cool canoe club and is pretty decent at it. Colleen enjoys Star Wars and also not being cold ever.

Arrow icon.View All Posts by Colleen Ford
share this post